Horsemeat from Canada: The horses’ long ordeal

A film production by Animal Welfare Foundation, Tierschutzbund Zürich and Animals’ Angels USA.

Bouvry Exports is Canada’s largest horse slaughterhouse. Since 2012, the Tierschutzbund Zürich (TSB Zürich) and the Animal Welfare Foundation (AWF) have been conducting observations in Bouvry’s feedlot, together with their partner organisation Animals’ Angels USA. There have been massive animal welfare problems for years. In the bitter cold in winter (-30 °C) or scorching heat in summer (over 30 °C), the horses are left without any weather protection. Horses are fattened until they get sick. Injured, sick and dying animals remain without any care or attention. The European Union requires, for reasons of consumer protection, that US horses remain in the feedlot for six months before slaughter and prohibits the use of important anti-inflammatory painkillers such as phenylbutazone. This often leads to a long suffering. Laminitis is one of the most noticeable diseases, caused by overfeeding, overweight and neglected hooves. Laminitis is an extremely painful hoof disease and requires emergency treatment. The Swiss importer Skin Packing sees horse husbandry in Canada differently and writes on its website: “We import the horsemeat directly from Canada. We source it mainly from the Bouvry farm in Alberta, which is without a doubt the most appropriate, respectful horse breeding farm in the world. The horses there live in semi-freedom.” (source:

AWF and TSB Zürich, together with their partner organisations Animales Sin Hogar (Uruguay), Animals’ Angels (USA), Canadian Horse Defence Coalition (Canada), Coalition for the Protection of Racehorses (Australia), Dier&Recht (Netherlands), Fondation Franz Weber (Argentina), GAIA (Belgium), IHP Italian Horse Protection (Italy), and Welfarm (France), supported by Eurogroup for Animals (Brussels), call on the European Commission to stop horsemeat imports from cruel production.

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